What an intriguing story! Benaiah was one of the thirty commanders of various divisions in King David’s army. He was appointed captain of David’s personal bodyguard, and chosen because of three acts of valour in 1 Chronicles 11:22-25. But it’s the one about going down into a pit on a snowy day to kill a lion that stands out to me.
There are so many questions I would love to ask about it. Yet does it really matter to us today? Well Romans 15:4 does say (referring to Scripture in general) that ‘these things were written for our instruction’. So I suggest that there might be a lesson in here somewhere for us. We don’t really know why Benaiah chose to do what he did, but I believe he was led to do it, and it was necessary.
We’re told in 1 Peter 5:8, ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’. A lion is a massively strong creature, capable of caving a skull in with one blow of its paw. Its teeth can easily crush bone. So it’s a formidable adversary. A pit is a confined space that’s easy enough to get into, but difficult to escape from. Snow makes the ground slippery and visibility difficult – essentially the worst possible conditions in which to face a foe that seems far stronger than you are.
What’s your lion today? What’s the worst situation to be in, the thing you dread? Is it unemployment, lack of money, abuse from a boss, a broken or breaking marriage, failure, abused trust from one you love, temptation, addiction, loss, loneliness, or ill-health? Maybe you can instantly identify something in your life. Perhaps you feel as if you’re already stuck in a pit with no way out, finding it difficult to keep standing, and it’s so hard to see a way out. If so, take heart!
Jehoiada (his father) means ‘God knows’. Benaiah means ‘God builds’. The secret of Benaiah was that God knew him and God built him. God also built you, child of God.
In Christ we’re to be men and women of valour. At times we need to stand firm and face our enemy. Other times we need to confront our enemy and attack! We need to bring the battle to the enemy, just as young David did to Goliath (he ran at him – the last thing Goliath expected).
Say to your lion, the situation you’ve dreaded, “You’re going down! You won’t wreck my life, my family, my home, my future! I’ll succeed because God knows my situation, and God builds me and God will defeat you through me!” Instead of worrying about the lion, the snow and the pit, face it head on, and don’t tiptoe past it anymore. Go into that snowy pit and face your worst fears.
Don’t slink past the enemy again, hoping he won’t spot you and turn on you. You’re his worst fears, not the other way around. He’s trapped in the pit with you! The slippery ground and difficult visibility hinders him! He’s the one at the disadvantage – that’s what Benaiah saw. Can you see it? Today, rise up and realise that, in Christ, you’re well able to overcome your lion. You’re a Benaiah – a man or woman of valour that God’s building and strengthening. Focus on your victory, not on the possibility of defeat. When you aim at a target – what do you aim at? The outer circle, vaguely hoping to hit the target? No! You aim at the bullseye! Focus on the victory you’re going to have in Christ, and defeat your lion, pit or no pit, snow or no snow!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know I’m weary. For so long I’ve focused on being trapped by the enemy. I’ve been allowing him, through others or that situation I’m now facing, to harass me. Today I choose to say “No more!” I’ll take the battle to the enemy, and, in Christ, I’ll overcome, because ‘greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world’. In and through Your mighty Name, Lord Jesus! Amen.
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